Chicken Cacciatore

This chicken cacciatore recipe is an old one from the October 2000 Cook’s Illustrated. It’s one of the first things I learned how to cook, and has become comfort food for me. Pair it with some good bread, and this is a hearty meal that makes me feel at home.

8 bone-in chicken thighs (about three pounds, the thighs I got this time were HUGE and four were about 2.5lbs, so I just went with that)
salt & pepper
1t olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
6oz portobello mushroom caps, cut into 0.75″ cubes
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1.5T flour (Yes, I used flour. Feel free to sub in cornstarch)
1.5c dry red wine (not merlot, nothing oaked)
0.5c chicken stock
1-14.5oz can diced tomatoes, drained
2t minced fresh thyme
1 piece parmesan cheese rind
2t minced fresh sage

Season chicken with salt & pepper. Heat oil in dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add four thighs, skin-side down, and cook until skin in crisp & brown, about 5 minutes. Flip and brown on other side, another 5 minutes. Transfer to plate, and brown remaining thighs, transferring to plate when they’re done.

Drain off all but 1T fat from the pot. Add onion, mushrooms, and 0.5t salt. Sauté over medium-high heat until moisture evaporates and vegetables begin to brown, 6-8 minutes. Meanwhile, remove and discard skin from thighs. Add garlic to pot, and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add mine, scraping pot bottom to loosen brown bits. Stir in stock, tomatoes, thyme, cheese rind, and pepper to taste. Submerge chicken pieces in liquid and bring to boil; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until chicken is tender and cooked through, about 45 minutes, turning chicken pieces halfway through cooking.

Discard cheese rind, stir in sage, adjust seasonings with salt & pepper, and serve.

Miso-glazed chicken with mushrooms

Chicken and mushrooms is a classic combination. It’s one of my favorites. I saw this recipe in a Milk Street magazine and had to try it. It’s pretty good, very full of umami flavor, which was probably my generous hand with the miso. I served it with white rice, I’m sure there are other good combinations to pair it with.

0.5c mirin
6T white miso
2T soy sauce (I, as always, substituted gluten-free tamari)
1T finely grated ginger
0.5t ground black pepper
3lbs bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
1lb cremini mushrooms, trimmed & quartered
1 bunch scallions, cut into 2″ lengths, whites and greens separated
1T unseasoned rice vinegar

Mist a foil-lined baking sheet with cooking spray. (I skipped the foil for environmental reasons and scrubbed for awhile to get the pan clean, just FYI). In a large bowl, whisk the mirin, miso, soy sauce, ginger, and pepper. Cut two parallel slashes on each chicken thigh, slicing down to the bone. Add to miso mixture, and turn to coat, working the mixture into the slashes. Place skin-side up on baking sheet.

Add mushrooms and scallion whites to now-empty bowl; toss to coat. Add to the baking sheet, scattering around the chicken. Roast on the middle rack at 450F until everything is well-browned and the chicken thighs reach 175F, 30-40 minutes.

Transfer chicken to serving platter and spoon mushroom mixture over it. Sprinkle with the scallion greens. Pour pan juices into a bowl; skim fat & add rice vinegar. Mix, taste, season with pepper to taste. Serve with the chicken.

Miso-glazed salmon

I don’t know if it’s still salmon season or not – isn’t it usually over about now? But there was some delicious salmon at the farmer’s market this weekend, so miso-glazed salmon called my name. I served it with oven fries and fresh-made chocolate chip cookies for dessert. It was a good Sunday night meal.

3T white miso
5t honey
1T soy sauce (I used tamari, because: gluten-free)
2t mirin
1.5t toasted sesame oil
0.25t cayenne pepper
4-6oz center-cut salmon pieces
2T water
1T sesame seeds
1 scallion thinly sliced on diagonal

Whisk miso, 4t honey, soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, and cayenne together. Measure out 2t of sauce and brush onto tops of salmon. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Mix water and remaining teaspoon of honey into remaining sauce.

Evenly space filets, skin-side down on oiled wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Broil until thickest part of salmon reaches 115F (6-8 minutes). Transfer to platter, drizzle with 2T of remaining miso mixture. Sprinkle sesame seeds and scallion. Serve.

Roast a chicken

I am not going to write an essay about how easy it is to roast a chicken (very) or how anyone (even you!) can do it because Michael Ruhlman said it much better than I ever could. I will say that roast chicken hits a spot in my heart that I don’t understand – eating roast chicken feels like coming home.

My recipe is slightly fussier than Ruhlman’s, but either is fine. It’s hard to screw up a chicken. I tossed a couple of potatoes in the oven whilst the chicken cooked, and we had baked potatoes as a side dish. Delicious!

Roast Chicken

Start heating oven to 425F. Melt 2T butter. Put rinsed-off chicken in roasting pan with a V-shaped basket. Use a brush to rub the butter all over the chicken. Sprinkle chicken liberally with salt & pepper. Position chicken with one wing side up. Put chicken in oven when it’s finished warming up. After 20 minutes, flip the chicken over to its other wing. After a second 20 minutes, flip the bird breast side up. Put a meat thermometer in the breast and cook until it hits 160F, about another 20 minutes depending on how big the bird is. Remove from oven, let rest for 15 minutes. Carve and eat.

Tapas? This might be a tapas dish

This gem of a weeknight dish is known around our house as “pork bites” and often gets paired with some sort of potatoes (roasted, french fries, probably even tater tots once) for an easy-ish weeknight meal. It has the added bonus of being way more delicious than it should be.

1.5t coriander
1.5t cumin
1.5t smoked paprika
0.75t each of salt & pepper
1lb pork tenderloin, cut into 1″ squares
1T lemon juice, plus wedges for serving
1T honey
1 garlic clove, minced
2T olive oil
1T chopped fresh oregano

Mix spices together, add pork and toss to coat evenly until no more spices remain in the bowl (that is, they’re all stuck to the meat and not sitting in the bottom of the bowl). Let the pork sit for 30-60 minutes at room temperature. In another bowl, mix the lemon juice, honey, and garlic.

Heat 1T olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the meat in a single layer and cook without moving until deeply brown on one side (~3min). Then flip pork until cooked through and browned all over, another 2-3 minutes.  Off the heat, toss with the lemon-garlic mixture until evenly coated. Move to serving platter, sprinkle the oregano and drizzle the last 1T olive oil.

Enjoy!

Adapted from Milk Street Magazine, a cooking magazine I’d HIGHLY recommend, if for no other reason than their Tuesday night section where they give you about a week’s worth of delicious recipes that truly only take 30 minutes to make.

A simple easy dinner for an August weeknight

It’s summer. It’s probably hot, or is going to be hot in the next couple of weeks. It’s also tomato season and if you’re a gardener, you may have too many tomatoes. May I recommend something as simple as throwing some pasta into your next caprese salad?

Our ratios:
1.5 lbs ripe tomatoes, chopped
0.25c extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2T fresh basil, chopped
6oz fresh mozzarella
1lb pasta, cooked
salt & pepper to taste

Mix everything together in a large serving bowl except the pasta, while the pasta is cooking. Add once it’s done. Mix. Eat. Enjoy.

It’s like a pasta-y stir fry

Because I am a working parent, quick dinners are a must. I’m a big fan of making a big pot of soup on the weekends and storing it in individual sized containers.

I’m also a big fan of stir-fries and pastas. This drunken noodle recipe is a bit of a hybrid. It’s an asian-style stir fry that uses rice noodles. Like any stir-fry, it requires some chopping, but it cooks quickly. It’s probably 45-ish minutes from pulling out the recipe to setting the serving dish on the table.

12oz rice noodles
12 oz chicken breast (the packages of chicken breast at our grocery store are 1lb, we just use the whole thing)
1T + 0.25c tamari or gluten-free soy sauce (or heck, if you’re not gluten-free, regular soy sauce is probably fine!)
0.75c packed brown sugar
0.33c lime juice (~3 limes if you’re juicing your own)
0.25c water
0.25c Asian chili-garlic sauce
0.25 c vegetable oil
0.5 head Napa cabbage, cut into 1″ pieces (~6c)
1.5c coarsely chopped cilantro
4 scallions, sliced thin

  1. Cover noodles in very hot tap water. Leave until pliable (~35 minutes, which, if you do this first and then chop the chicken & veggies, is conveniently about how long until you’ll need them again).
  2. Slice chicken breasts into strips 0.25″ thick. Toss with 1T tamari sauce.
  3. Whisk together remaining tamari/soy sauce, sugar, lime juice, water, chili-garlic sauce. Set aside.
  4. Heat 2T oil in 12″ nonstick skillet over high heat. Add chicken and cook for ~3 minutes. The strips should be nearly cooked through. Transfer to clean bowl.
  5. Add 1T oil to skillet. Add cabbage and cook until spotty brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl with chicken.
  6. Wipe out skillet, add 3T oil, heat over medium-high heat. Add drained rice noodles and tamari mixture, tossing gently until sauce has thickened and noodles are tender. (This typically takes ~5 minutes, but the recipe claims it could take as long as 10. That’s never been my experience.) Add chicken-cabbage mixture and cilantro. Cook until chicken is warmed through. Sprinkle scallions & serve.

Soup for all

sunburst soup

 

I’m starting a simple blog post when I don’t feel like writing. I don’t even know what I want to say. I want to talk about soup, about how a potato-leek soup is somehow perfect for this time of year, it being leek season (is it ever not potato season?) and all. (This one adds carrots, which is why it’s orange.) But I’m tired, and so I’ll just give you the recipe, maybe with the added note that this is a good recipe to practice your chopping.

Sunburst Soup

2 medium leeks, split and washed, white and light green parts sliced
1.5lbs carrots, sliced
1.5lbs potatoes, peeled and diced
2T unsalted butter
5c chicken stock
1/2t chopped thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
2c half & half
2T fresh lemon juice
3T chopped fresh dill
1/8t cayenne
1/4t nutmeg

Melt butter, sautée leeks until tender & wilted. Add carrots, potatoes, stock, bring to boil. Add thyme, bay leaf, salt to taste. Simmer for 20-30 min, until vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaf and puree the soup. Stir in lemon juice, half & half, spices. Taste and correct with additional seasonings.

Hungry. Now. Must eat.

 

chili
I’m hungry just looking at it.

I love chili. LOVE. It’s easy to make a huge pot of it, easy to put it in individual portions in the freezer, easy to heat them up into a good, hearty meal. Plus, it just tastes so good.

I got a good recipe a few years ago from This Charming Candy. In fact, the paper I still use as my starting point is in her handwriting.

1-2 lbs ground beef (Her instructions just say “ground meat”, so if you prefer something else, go for it. I bet you could even use tofu cut into chunks if you wanted)
1 large chopped onion

Saute together over medium heat. Then add:

2T chili powder
1t cumin
1-2t salt
0.5t black pepper
1-2 diced jalapeños
1t hot pepper flakes

Saute about a minute, until fragrant, then add

0.5t tobasco
2T worchestershire sauce
2-28oz cans diced tomates (I prefer petit diced, myself)
1 can tomato soup (I’ll substitute tomato sauce sometimes)
45oz kidney beans

Simmer for ~30 minutes.

Like any soup, it’s always better the next day, after the flavors have had more time to meld together.

 

So not authentic. Still tasty.

Fajitas

 

We really do eat a lot of texmex food. Huh.

One of my favorite stories about fajitas is that the name derives from the cut of steak that’s traditionally used. Which makes chicken fajitas a bastardized version of the traditional dish. So I tend not to worry about particular toppings being “authentic.” None of this is authentic. That’s ok. They’re still good.

Chicken Fajitas
2-3 limes, juiced
6T veg oil
3 garlic cloves
1T worcestershire sauce
1.5t brown sugar
1 jalapeño
1.5T chopped fresh cilantro
1 lb chicken breast
2 red onions
2 red bell peppers
2 green peppers
8-12 flour tortillas (I sub corn in for mine because I’m gluten-free.)

  1. In a large bowl, mix lime juice, 4T oil, garlic, worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, jalapeño, and cilantro together. Add 1t salt and 0.75t black pepper. Reserve out 0.25c of mixture, marinate the chicken in the remainder for about 15 minutes.
  2. Chop vegetables and coat with oil.
  3. Heat 2 cast iron skillets (one for the vegetables, one for the chicken) over med-high heat. Cook chicken for ~4-5 min on each side, sauté vegetables until done.
  4. Warm tortillas. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes, then slice.
  5. Pour 2T of reserved marinade over vegetables, pour remainder over the chicken. Serve with warmed tortillas and any toppings you’d like.

We tend to serve our fajitas with salsa, cheese, avocado, and sour cream. Not terribly traditional, but I covered that above.

The stove-top cooking method I use also isn’t traditional – you’re supposed to grill both the vegetables and the chicken. We do that when we make them on the weekend (and they taste better that way), but if you’re looking for a faster weeknight meal or it’s cold or rainy, this  is an acceptable substitute.